We had a bit of a water disaster here in Charleston. It’s been called Aquapocalypse 2014…that’s probably a good term for the mess that we’ve had, but good news is coming! It looks like our zone just got cleared to flush our water system (edit: this just “undid” our area…dang it!). WV American Water has done a fantastic job (in my opinion) as far as being rightly conservative in issuing the “Do not use” order as well as providing information and getting the systems back on line. Sure, it would have been nice if our water system hadn’t been polluted, but that wasn’t their fault…it was the chemical company that apparently did not maintain proper safety systems.
So, the plan was to monitor the treatment system to find a point when the dilution of the chemical was at a level the CDC reported was safe…that is less than 1 ppm. In laymen’s terms, what that means is if we had a million gallons of liquid, 1 gallon would be 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM). There is much discussion as to whether that is truly a safe level for consumption. I am concerned of course because the plan means I will be consuming some of that chemical…even in my “safe” water. I get that my drinking water is not straight h20 even before all this, but I wish it could just be MCHM-free again. That’s not a reality now however so we will proceed to shower in the water that has been declared “safe”. In our house, we will not be drinking or brushing with it for awhile longer but ultimately, we will have to just “go for it” I guess. Again, I don’t blame the water company of the officials on the ground for making this decision and all will probably be well…I just want my perfect world to return!
So we will drain our hot water tanks and all of the pipes in our house. We will follow the nicely written directions provided by the water company and we will get back to normal. I think most people have done really well in handling their situations. Thursday night when this all started, it was a little wild as initial panic set in but people quickly got their heads on straight.
Water was trucked in from far and wide and distributed all over. Neighbors checked on neighbors, and friends in safe-water-zones offered the homes and showers to others to make this all a little better than it would have been. I am proud of my fellow West Virginians and of my state and local government (and maybe even the feds?) for how they handled this situation. I saw a little more clearly as it was exercised before my eyes, the importance of community and helping others. I also saw very clearly the benefit of having some extra water and water containers on hand. I now realize how very much I appreciate having a shower and even more importantly, I realize how much I appreciate other people having showers. Even so, I am proud to be a Mountaineer, stinky or not, and I am delighted to have such a great community who get down to business when the going gets tough!